The 1850s is viewed by most scholars as the crucial decade of the sectional crisis that resulted in the War Between the States. The Great Triumvirate of John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster had passed from the scene. These giants were replaced by lesser lights, and “the war came” as Mr. Lincoln claimed. As historical explanations go, there are worse. One may already discern the protests of the “righteous cause” crowd crying out against my neglect of the slavery issue, which we are told ad infinitum, ad nauseum was the sole cause of the great conflict. If only this were true.
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